Want to prevent both dental and overall health issues? Keep up with your regular dental exams and checkups. These exams are just as important to your health as all your medical exams. How can we claim that? Your mouth is not separate from the rest of your body, and if you develop infections in your teeth and gums, or begin to suffer from TMJ disorder or sleep apnea, the rest of you will suffer too. When you come to see us for your cleanings, we keep an eye on what is happening in your mouth, but we also like to schedule a comprehensive exam to update your x-rays, screen for oral cancer, measure your gum pockets and check for inflammation, and make sure none of our teeth are damaged or decayed. All of these exams and screenings are designed to ensure that even the smallest problems will be caught early – when they are easier and less expensive to treat and have less impact on your overall wellness.
Oral Cancer Screenings
Believe it or not, oral cancer is one of the fastest growing cancers in America, and the numbers of people contracting it keep going up according to The Oral Cancer Foundation. They estimate that this year approximately 49,750 Americans will be newly diagnosed with oral or oropharyngeal cancer. Those numbers are staggering, we know, and they are exactly why we encourage our patients to schedule and keep up with routine oral cancer screenings. At these screenings, we will check for the very first signs of mouth cancer such as:
- Lumps or unusual thickening of the lips or cheek
- Discolored or speckled patches on your oral tissue
- Persistent bad breath
- Chronic sore throat
Many times the spots, swelling, or other changes are so small in the first stages of cancer that you would probably never notice them. These first stages are when it is critical to begin treatment for the best outcome. Clearly, oral cancer screenings are nothing to ignore.
X-rays are an integral part of maintaining your oral health. Without them, we would never be able to see what is happening beneath the surface of your enamel. Now, with digital x-rays, we are able to get a much clearer and sharper image than ever before – with much less exposure to radiation. And since digital x-rays are saved directly to the computers we keep in each exam room, you can take a look at your x-rays right along with Dr. Burdick, if you like, and they are easily saved in your records for future reference. What’s more, digital x-rays are better for our amazing environment here in Colorado since they require no developing fluid or paper! In addition to digital radiographs, we also use the DiagnoDent laser to aid in the early detection of dental caries. This cavity-detecting laser is so precise, it helps us find the dental decay before it can even be seen by x-rays! Together, our digital x-rays and DiagnoDent laser can help us find and take care of minor dental problems as early as possible.
Almost everything you eat and drink, especially sugary drinks and high-carb foods, contribute to plaque, the sticky buildup full of bacteria that forms on your teeth. When it stays there too long it hardens into calculus or tartar, a substance that is very difficult to remove and can lead to gum disease and tooth decay. That’s when professional cleanings come in. A cleaning from Victor H. Burdick, Jr. DDS is comfortable and easy. Plus, there really is nothing like the feeling you have after a good, professional dental cleaning. You know what we are talking about – and it isn’t something you can achieve at home no matter how well you brush and floss. We offer both the efficiency of Piezo ultrasonic scaling, and the precision of professional hand scaling. We schedule your cleanings according to your personal needs and do not dictate a prescribed number of yearly cleanings. Some people need cleanings three or four times a year, while others may only need a twice-yearly cleaning.
No one really thinks about their gums. They are just there, quietly doing their job. Even when something goes wrong, they often don’t shout that problem at you like other areas of your mouth. In fact, gum disease can get fairly advanced before you begin to notice the symptoms. That’s more of a problem than you may think. You see, your gums do more than hold your teeth in place. These delicate tissues are known as mucous membranes and they are there to help protect your body from infection. When they themselves become infected, that infection has a direct portal to the rest of your body, which can lead to all sorts of health problems including inflammation, increased risk for heart disease and strokes, diabetic complications, issues during pregnancy, certain cancers, and so much more. If you see any signs of bleeding during brushing or flossing, or have tenderness, swelling, or redness of the gum tissue, please give us a call right away. If diagnosed early enough, we can treat it with a deep cleaning and Arestin, a topical antibiotic that is placed in the gum pockets for continual, multi-day treatment. If your periodontal disease has advanced further than the initial stages, we will refer you to one of our trusted periodontal colleagues. There is a periodontist here in the building with us – how’s that for convenience?
Fluoride is for kids, right? Yes, it is, but it is also for adults just like you! Fluoride is not just a mineral famed for preventing cavities, it is also a terrific tool for protecting, remineralizing, and desensitizing teeth. We offer fluoride treatments for kids at every visit because, yes, fluoride treatments do protect those precious growing teeth against the daily attack of sugars and bacteria. We offer the treatments to adults, as needed, for the very same thing and more. Even adult teeth come under attack from the foods we eat, the beverages we drink, and the stress we are under, leading to adult cavities, decay at the gumline, and sensitivity. One of the things that can put stress on the integrity of your teeth is dry mouth, or xerostomia, a condition in which your salivary glands do not produce enough saliva. Saliva isn’t just there to help you chew and digest your food. It also helps protect your teeth by rinsing away food and with an enzyme that breaks down starches. Fluoride helps protect your teeth, stop sensitivity, and rebuild enamel. See why fluoride isn’t just for kids anymore?
You have put a lot of effort into keeping your, and your family’s teeth, safe and strong. You have invested in braces, fluoride treatments, fillings, for your kids. And that’s not even mentioning all the restorative or cosmetic work you’ve had done yourself! Why risk damage during play or sleep? Ask us about custom-made night and sports guards.
Our sports guards offer your kids – or you, for that matter – far better protection than any boil-and-bite mouth guard available from the sporting goods store. In fact, people often discover that those mouthguards are so uncomfortable that they would rather not wear them. No mouthguard can protect teeth when they aren’t in your mouth! Our guards are custom create from dental molds so they fit your mouth and protect your teeth in the most comfortable way possible. They also help protect against concussions!
Custom-designed mouth guards from Dr. Burdick can:
- Protect teeth from being chipped, fractured or knocked out
- Prevent jaw fractures
- Reduce the risks of concussion
- Allow for comfortable extended wear
We also offer night guards to protect teeth from clenching and grinding during sleep. If you wake up with a sore jaw or have been wondering why your teeth are chipping, please ask us about our comfortable night guards.
We do not take risks with anesthesia here at Victor H. Burdick, Jr. DDS. Instead, we offer the amazing relaxation of NuCalm®, an award-winning method that helps you relax and feel better during any procedure. Dentists trust it and patients love it. Read more on our NuCalm® page.
Sleep Apnea Treatment
Do you snore? Does your partner say you stop breathing during the night? Do you wake up feeling groggy and tired every morning? You could be suffering from sleep apnea, a serious disorder that affects over 20 million Americans. Those are just the ones who have been diagnosed and recorded. Most people who suffer from sleep apnea don’t realize they have it – unless a spouse or someone who has shared a hotel room with them reports it to them. And sleep apnea does more than disrupt your sleep. It also depletes you of oxygen. This depletion of oxygen makes you tired and groggy, but there is also evidence that sleep apnea can worsen fibromyalgia, trigger hypertension, and lead to cardiovascular disease, and stroke. We really don’t want that for our Littleton patient family! Because we are intimately familiar with the mouth throat and jaw, we can help diagnose obstructive sleep apnea and get you headed in the right direction for treatment. Better yet, if you have already been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea and have difficulty wearing your CPAP mask, we offer an oral appliance that can help stop mild to moderate sleep apnea without forced air or a mask! Ask us about sleep apnea and its treatment the next time you come see us!
If you wake up to a sore jaw or aching teeth, if you experience frequent or chronic headaches or even migraines, if your fingers tingle or your tongue looks jaggy around the edges, you may be dealing with TMJ disorder. People can develop TMJ disorder for all kinds of reasons from daily stress that carries over into sleep and causes night-time grinding and clenching, to a blow or whiplash during an accident. But no matter what has caused it, you do not need to deal with TMJ disorder alone. We employ bite splints to allow your jaw joint and its surrounding muscles to relax and return to their proper position. This relaxation gives our patients tremendous relief while also protecting their teeth from the damage that TMJ disorder can cause. Don’t suffer from TMJ pain and damage alone. Call us and we can help evaluate your condition, refer you to a specialist, or treat you with a bite splint right here in our Littleton office.
Of course, you never chew on ice. We know you only munch hulless popcorn and never bite down on the kernels. And you never, ever use your teeth as tools. Right? Well, even if you are a stickler about protecting your teeth, things can happen. A crown could break, A fall or vehicular collision could knock a tooth out. Or you might just wake up in the middle of the night with a throbbing toothache that just won’t stop. Don’t worry. You aren’t alone. When you have a dental emergency, we are here to help. If you have been in a car accident, even if you are headed to the emergency room, please call us if you have experienced oral trauma. Even if your emergency isn’t a matter of life-or-death, we are always here for you. Call our office any time, day or night, and we will direct you to help. And remember, if a tooth gets knocked out, don’t throw it away. Put it under your tongue or in a glass of milk and bring it to us. Occasionally, we are able to replace it!